Dyspraxia Research

RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER EXPLORES POSSIBLE CAUSES OF DYSPRAXIA

When we interact with objects in our world, we are constantly making predictions. Predictions about how slippery it will be, how delicate it will be, and how heavy it will be. At the University of Exeter, we want to see whether children with Dyspraxia (sometimes known as Developmental Coordination Disorder or DCD) have specific difficulties with this sort of prediction when they interact with their environment, in the hope that it will help us to better understand what causes movement difficulties of this nature.   

The research, funded by the Waterloo Foundation, involves children aged between 8-12 years old coming into the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter to take part in an experiment where we track their hand-movements, eye-movements and gripping forces while they reach out and pick up a range of objects over and over again. We are inviting children with movement difficulties (such as Dyspraxia and DCD) to take part in this study, which will help us shed light on whether there are any differences in how children with and without movement difficulties interact objects.

Here at the University, researchers have conducted a number of research projects into Dyspraxia. For example, scientists in our department have been looking at how training where to look at what time might help children with Dyspraxia learn new movement skills. Recently, this research has led to the production of a new resource for parents and professionals to help children with Dyspraxia learn new movement skills and enjoy sport (http://see2learn.co.uk/). Our current work hopes to expand on this to help us learn more about the causes of Dyspraxia and help us create new diagnostic measures for children with movement difficulties. Research into Dyspraxia, both in children and adults, is important to allow us to understand the causes of the condition, help us develop relevant and evidence-based interventions, and help us understand how Dyspraxia might affect a person’s day-to-day life.

If you have a child who would be interested in taking part in our research study, please get in touch! We are still looking for participants and the study will be running until the end of April 2019. Participants get feedback from the Movement ABC and £20 as a thank you for their time. Feedback from the 90 or so children who have taken part already has been that they have really enjoyed the experience! More information about what is involved can be found on our website https://sites.google.com/site/perceptionandactiondcd/ or alternatively you can contact me on kate.allen@exeter.ac.uk.

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Kate Allen Exeter University
Kate Allen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter. She is involved in new research that is hoping to explore potential causes of Dyspraxia.
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